Seating podiums in front of the town hall in Sinsheim

In the course of a complete modernization and remodeling to achieve maximum accessibility, the town hall in Sinsheim was granted a newly designed, barrier-free outdoor area at the beginning of 2020. The sculptural plant and seating podiums are an attractive eye-catcher in the 3,300 square metre large space in front of the entrance area. One of the oval concrete elements attracts the viewer’s eye as a blossoming flower bed, and two further elements serve as seating podiums for citizens. The seating area is covered with ROBUST in the colour brown, a robust surface made of wood composite materials from Bavarian producer NATURinFORM’s range.

Patio decks
ROBUST in brown

Type of construction
New construction of seating podiums

Building owner
Stadt Sinsheim

Construction year

Seating podiums in front of town hall, Sinsheim

Renovation of the town hall and new design for the outdoor area

Since being built in 1976, the town hall has been the cultural centre of the large district town Sinsheim and the surrounding communities. Annually there are around 200 different events there. With its size and its central location, the ‘Dr. Sieber Hall’, combined with the library on the ground floor, also offers schools and clubs an opportunity to hold events. To strengthen the importance of the institution as a cross-regional community centre for education and culture, the town hall was modernized between 2016 and 2020 for 11.5 million Euros and brought up to date. Additionally, the outdoor areas on a total of 3,300 square metres were also given a completely new design and full accessibility. Landscape architects from Elke Ukas’s office from Karlsruhe were responsible for the project. The now car-free square’s water fountains entice visitors to come and cool down on hot days; wooden decks, benches, as well as organically shaped flowerbed and seating elements invite people to spend time there – and attract looks and people.

ROBUST in a different angle: as a seating area and a design element

The company AZ Straßen- und Pflasterbau from Bad Rappenau was appointed to build the outdoor area. With his team of 17, company founder Ali Zeneli works a lot for municipal entities. ‘We specialize in creating complete outdoor areas – and that is why we received this order from the town of Sinsheim,’ says Zeneli. Part of the work scope included building up the sculptural concrete elements. The outer parts were first produced in a regional concrete plant and then put together in front of the town hall. Then concrete slabs were laid on top of the gravel (KFT) with a top grit bed, onto which the processers first mounted NATURinFORM’S aluminium underlying construction before they then attached the decks that had been cut to size correctly using the concealed brackets. A total of 20 square metres of the ‘Robust’ deck were used for the two seating podiums. The wooden structure of the brown surface creates a design contrast to the concrete surround of the seating podiums. Contractor Ali Zeneli said that dealing with wood composite material is not his daily business, but within the scope of complete projects his team always also masters these tasks to his clients’ satisfaction, and he himself is convinced that the material used is low maintenance, robust and durable.

Concrete plus wood composite material: High acceptance of the unusual ‘town furniture’

’The new design of the outdoor area in front of our town hall has also become very popular with the inhabitants; all age groups gladly and frequently use the unusual seating options especially,’ Bernd Kippenhan says happily about the high acceptance of this ‘public area furniture’ – and praises the planning achievement in this context. ‘If people enjoy using our facilities and play there, if they spend their free time to relax and have a rest here, then the planners were successful,’ is what it says on the appointed landscape architect Elke Ukas’s homepage.

Beautiful wooden look with convincing ’inner values’

The massive ROBUST deck looks just like wood with its intensive grain. Due to its robustness and thanks to a thickness of 21 millimeter it is extremely suitable for heavy use surfaces, such as here in Sinsheim. The decks were mounted without visible brackets. For the rounded ends of the organically shaped areas the massive decks were simply sawed to size and fitted. Wood as an outdoor surface has a limited life-cycle due to strong solar radiation. Also, temperature differences- such as between the bright sun during the day and cold air at night – lead to wood aging quickly. First the material tears, then water can permeate the material and the surface rots. Untreated wood has a proven life expectancy of only around 5 years and also requires a lot of maintenance. NATURinFORM’s decks last far longer and are suitable as a first choice, especially for properties with heavy utilization. Due to its innovative material composition these decks can neither tear nor splinter. The surface looks like natural wood and consists to a large proportion of the natural material. But to make it resistant, non-slippery and durable, a pure polymer technical component is added during production. The wood composite material that is created thereby still is convincing with its wooden look, but also stars with its durability and robustness due to its homogenous and compact interior. Thanks to a light brushing of the surface during production the surface is also less slippery, which it is also, even when wet. A further advantage of the wood composite material which is decisive especially in commercially used large surfaces: The decks require no additional care, such as varnish or oiling. The natural pigments are incorporated in the material during production. Should they become dirty, the surfaces can easily be cleaned using a high-pressure cleaner, or with smaller surfaces simply by using water and a brush.

Specialist for intelligent outdoor surfaces and profiles

NATURinFORM specialises in intelligent solutions for outdoor surfaces and profiles. In the factory in Bavarian Redwitz an der Rodach the wood composite materials are produced: Hereby wooden fibres – leftovers from the wood industry certified with the PEFC-hallmark – are combined with an environmentally-friendly thermoplastic polymer in such a way that it covers each individual fibre like a protective coating. Because the polymer itself is completely water repellant, no water can permeate the finished deck – but it retains the optical and thermic characteristics of wood. A large advantage especially for surfaces surrounding damp and wet areas, because on the one hand the material does not swell or rot, and on the other hand the surface is safe to walk on. It is used as patio decks, jetties, pool borders or vertically as privacy shields, noise prevention and façade cladding. The range is extensive and has many models and colours, diverse design and countless fitting accessories.

There are environmental product declarations according to international standards available (EPDs) for all of NATURinFORM’s decks and façade profiles. All products are continuously monitored by quality controls and stress tests, to guarantee a constant perfect and first-class wood composite quality. The company provides a five-year guarantee on its products. The patio decks can be recycled 100 percent and can be returned to the plant in Bavarian Redwitz for recycling.

Download: Press Release
Product information: robust